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Insights for Hospital CEOs during COVID-19: Be calm and confident

By Don Smithburg,  SVP Hospital Operations for CHC & Interim CEO for Rehoboth McKinley Christian Health Care Services

Facing uncertainty has become a fact of life for all Americans in the midst of COVID-19. Pundits say one thing, public health agencies say another and elected officials send divergent messages. In the healthcare space, hospitals have been competing for PPE and seeking expert advice for treatment protocols. We have all struggled with the scale and scope of the pandemic, which has strained our healthcare organizations and created economic hardship for people...


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Relationships are the Key to LTACH Success

GUEST BLOG

By Wayne Boutwell, CEO, ContinueCARE Hospital at Palmetto Health Baptist in Columbia , S.C.

Building relationships within your community is more important than ever for community hospitals, and the same holds true for long term acute care hospitals (LTACHs). In fact, relationship-building and education are the mainstays of success for ContinueCARE Hospital at Palmetto Health Baptist in Columbia, S.C. A similar approach is beneficial for LTACHs across the country.

Host-Hospital Relationship

The host-hospital relationship is of primary importance for any LTACH. Because ContinueCARE Hospital at Palmetto Health...


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The Importance of Sustaining Quality Initiatives in Times of Crisis

The impact of the insidious COVID-19 virus will have a long-lasting impact on the financial status and care delivery processes in hospitals across the United States. The pandemic has also underscored and emphasized the significance of clinical quality, patient and staff safety, as well as adherence to best practices for all hospitals.

On March 27, 2020, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) granted exceptions and extensions for certain deadlines to assist health care providers direct their resources toward caring for their patients and ensuring the health and safety...


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How to Gauge Your Hospital’s Financial Health

Some rural hospitals that were already struggling are now in serious financial trouble due to the coronavirus. The suspension of elective surgery and non urgent care in most states led to an abrupt drop in patient volumes and hospital revenue. That loss, combined with the cost of preparing for COVID-19 protections for patients and employees, has forced rural hospitals into deeper distress. It’s especially important in these challenging circumstances to keep a close eye on key metrics that gauge a hospital’s financial health. By monitoring indicators, creating transparency and responding...


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Rural Matters Podcast Features Brian Doerr, Carrie Zbierski, and Andra Smith

Rural Matters, a podcast featuring issues important to Rural America, recently spoke to Brian Doerr, Senior Vice President of Information Technology and Security, and Privacy Officer for Community Hospital Corporation of Plano, Texas; Carrie Zbierski, Chief Nursing Officer at North Texas Medical Center; and Andra Smith, Director of Practice Management at North Texas Medical Center about the evolving telemedicine presence in rural America and its capability to deliver specialty health services.

Before the pandemic, Doerr notes, rural areas accesses telemedicine in a limited way, due to regulatory and reimbursement restrictions...


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The PPE Shortage—Mending a Crippled Supply Chain

While some states are lifting stay-at-home orders as new cases of COVID-19 level off, many rural areas are seeing an uptick in cases and may be weeks away from peaking. Therefore, rural hospitals are bracing for the same shortages that have already plagued bigger cities, including a dangerous dearth of ICU beds, staff, respirators, COVID-19 tests and—perhaps most widely reported in the media—life-saving personal protective equipment (PPE) including surgical gowns and heavier-duty N95 respirator masks.

Before the COVID-19 outbreak, most rural hospitals had ample supplies of PPE acquired through group...


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Rethinking Medical Supply Chain Costs: Good to Great

Many rural hospitals today — health care providers whose mission is to serve their community’s health care needs — are apprehensive about their own financial health. Increasing expenses, decreasing reimbursement and declining patient populations as well as hospital admissions place these hospitals at risk, threatening financial viability.

Besides salaries, supplies are the second-highest expense for hospitals. By reducing those costs and better managing the medical supply chain, a hospital can move its savings margin from good to great.

Unlocking Medical Supply Chain Savings In Order To Support Mission-Critical Objectives

CHC...


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Operational Assessment is The First Step Toward a Hospital Turnaround

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Hospital Turnarounds Start with an Operational Assessment

Troubled community hospitals can begin to reboot by parlaying an evaluation of operational performance into an action plan. This path leads hospitals from survival mode to a strategic mindset so they can do more than just keep the doors open. A comprehensive operational assessment and accompanying action plan help improve overall operations including critical areas such as revenue cycle, supply chain, staffing and leadership.

Tackling an operational assessment may seem daunting. While the process is complex, a good place to start is by examining outsourced contracts, as some may have...


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Be Prepared for Coronavirus Communications

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Best Practices for Coronavirus Communications

It’s natural for communities to turn to hospitals during times of health crisis. The outbreak of COVID-19 is a prime example of the important emergency-response role hospitals fill. Over the last several weeks, we’ve seen hospitals across the country prepare for and respond to growing numbers of cases and concerns of the novel coronavirus. 

The pandemic also has driven hospital communicators to update crisis communications plans and implement those efforts. Following are several best practices and resources for planning and communicating about COVID-19 emergency response.

Preparation:

Facilities still finalizing preparations...


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Strengthen Cyber Security in Four Steps

In January, there were almost as many cyber security breaches in healthcare as there were days. Providers, health plans and their associates reported 29 breaches affecting about 438,000 patients to the federal government in the first month of 2020, according to data reported by the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights. The largest single breach in 2019 exposed 11.5 million patients’ data. 

Across all industries, system glitches and human error account for 25 percent and 24 percent of breaches, respectively, but the majority—51 percent—are...


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